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Mon, Jun. 7th, 2004, 01:00 am

Thank all the gods, I'm finished with my exams (the last one for the fifth years is Arithmancy on Monday, but I don't take that)!

With my blessed free-time I've been exploring the new passageway in the Common Room. Minda was nice enough to cast a little spell around the entrace so people don't even notice it unless they already know it's there, so only she and I (and Jenyae and Chaeyz) can see it presently.

I was right-- there are other passageways connected to the chamber.

I found the first one Friday night after I brought Cicero his sushi. I copied down with magic what I could from two of the books in the study and was poking around the bookshelves for anything in a language I could recognise, and Cicero was pacing about by my feet making sounds of cattish discontent. The sort Minda makes when separated from Hugh or her violin for any length of time.</strike>

There is a little curved depression in one of the walls (the room itself is circular). My hand fell on it by chance (most of these discoveries seem to be happening by chance). It turns out when the heel of the palm is fitted into the depression it triggers the opening of another passage.

This tunnel is high (some seven feet from floor to ceiling) and dry, and the walls have a blueish tinge to them.

At the end of the passage is a very solid door in some light coloured wood, which opened inward when I touched it.

I think the room on the other side is a study, but the ceiling is higher than the other one and it is better-lit and more tidy, although it has more in it.

There is one shelf of books, which are very old. I think there's what's called "illuminated manuscripts," the sort written out by hand by the monks in old abbeys centuries ago. This shelf is at about eye-level on the wall opposite the door, and beside it is a rack of scrolls which I didn't touch for fear of damaging them. They're very yellow and look quite older than the books.

The north wall (to the left as you enter) is entirely dominated by a large tapestry. It seems to show a procession. There's a lady in front, very royal and regal. Following her is a younger girl in a robe with crosses and other symbols that are probably also holy, and behind her is a man who can only be a king. In a line after that are all sorts of people; artisans, wizards, priests, etc. It's all much prettier than I can describe it, of course.

To my right was a desk, although it was more like a very sturdy table because there weren't any drawers. On it there was a half-used candle and an unused piece of paper. There was a glass jar which had eagle-feather quills in it and one quill which was a very pretty royal blue. (Come to think of it, most of the room was either shades of brown or blue.) Next to the glass was the inkwell (the ink inside was blue, too).

On the wall in front of the desk and a few feet above it there was a painting of a Celtic cross and some text; Old English, I think. I couldn't read that, either.

To the left of that was a piece of paper which had been stuck to the wall with a charm of some sort. This was the text on it, written in a neat and precise hand:

Fore thaem neidfaerae naenig uuirthit
thoncsnotturra, than him tharf sic
to ymbhycggannae aer his hiniongac
hwaer his gaste godaes aeththae yflaes
aefter deothdaege doemid uueorthae.

I've no idea at all what that means, but it must be important because it's quite predominately displayed.

At that point I glanced at my watch and realised it was near midnight, and Minda does worry so when I go off. On my way out I noticed the trunk beside the doorway. There were some sheets of music on top, but I don't know what they were to; I can't read music in any language.

I hied off to the common room then, to avoid Minda sending people in after me. I expect this will be my project for the last month of school.